OBJECTIVE: To assess quality of life of postmenopausal women. METHODS: A cross-section study of 323 women between 45 and 60 years of age attended at a university climacteric clinic from June to October 2002was carried out. Quality of life was assessed by the Women's Health Questionnaire (WHQ). Statistical analysis was performed with Student's t Test and analysis of variance, followed by multiple linear regression analysis. RESULTS: This study found quality of life impaired especially in the domains related to somatic symptoms, depressed mood, and anxiety. Multivariate analysis showed that lower educational level (p<0.01, frequency of sexual activity (p<0.01) and the confirmation of previous clinical co-morbidities (p=0.03) were associated to the worst scores of quality of life. On the other hand, regular physical activity was related to better quality of life (p=0.01). Hormone therapy, in particular, was not related to quality of life (p=0.48). CONCLUSION: Quality of life was found not only to be influenced by biological factors, but also by psychossocial and cultural factors. Middle aged women frequently attributed eventual symptoms associated to clinical co-morbidities or previous emotional difficulties to menopause, distorting their perception of this phase in their life. In this sense, the educational level contributed to a better understanding of body changes at this time, reducing anxiety levels and encouraging self-care. Sexuality was also an important aspect related to quality of life in the climacterium.
Quality of life; Climacterium; Menopause; Hormonal therapy